How Endeavor One used a swordsman and expert dogs to create the virtual reality game “Arashi: Castles of Sin”

(Endeavor One Images)

Endeavor One, a Seattle-based VR company, plans to release its first game, Arashi: Castles of Sin, as an exclusive for PlayStation VR later this summer.

Endeavor One has been active in virtual, mixed and augmented reality spaces for the past seven years. His previous projects include collaborations such as Halo: Recruit for Windows Mixed Reality i Dome of the Dead, a 2019 4-player co-op shooter for Vulcano’s HoloDome.

According to Endeavor One co-founder Tom Doyle Arashi is Endeavor One’s first “capital-G game,” made by a 30-person team at Unity 3D, with support from Unity’s Seattle office, over the past two years. The team includes a number of veterans of the Hello i Destiny franchises, as well as several people who have worked at Microsoft AR and HoloLens.

Initially announced in early June via the official PlayStation blog, Arashi is a stealth / influence action game influenced by Kurosawa set in Japan in the early 16th century, relatively early Sengoku era. Like Kenshiro, the last surviving son of Arashi’s noble home, he returns from exile to retrieve six castles from the Six Ones of Iga, a bandit clan that has seized much of Japan.

It’s you, your family’s katana, and your wolf pet against a small army, so you have to do whatever it takes to match the odds.

Kenshiro is an assassin by trade, so all options are on the table. This can include stealth, infiltration, subtly neutralizing targets, a complete pacifist race in which you achieve Kenshiro’s goals without killing anyone, or simply entering the enemy with an arsenal of weapons appropriate to the period.

“We want these weapons, these things that you interact with, to be very meaningful,” Doyle said in an interview with GeekWire. “This is what comes from our team: building the best IPs in its class. We love big, funny stories, and like characters and locations, we want your tools to be iconic as well. What we wanted to do is make this sword and how to use it as impressive as possible. “

Doyle describes Arashi’s designing itself as a “combat sandbox,” made to be played in seven to nine hours, which is the long side of a modern virtual reality game. You intend to move through the game like a ninja, using the tactics you prefer to free the six castles of the Six Ones.

“We don’t skimp on any detail here,” Doyle said. “We hired Master Russell McCartney, a world record in Japanese sword play, and he provided motion capture for the fighters you’ll fight in the game. You just won’t fight any bad guys with sword weapons; you really “Face one of the greatest swordsmen alive. We’ve really looked for authenticity.”

This includes your companion Arashi, Haru, Kenshiro’s wolf, who fights by your side throughout the game. (Korean wolves were relatively common in sixteenth-century Japan, but were led to extinction during the Meiji era a couple of hundred years later.) In order to make a realistic model virtual wolf, Endeavor One went end up going up to Canada to get canine movement capture.

“It was a two-part trip,” Doyle said. “We worked with a partner in Canada, Beyond Capture, who has this stable of actors, who have four legs and are furry. They are fantastically trained, beautiful and disciplined animals, and we had the opportunity to work with them to ensure- that our experience with Haru be as humanly authentic as possible. “

“Unfortunately,” he continued, “you can’t catch a wolf in motion, because they’re wild animals. We’ve used dogs, German shepherds, which are incredibly similar in physique. We did, just for the animation teams and “The sanctuary of wolves, Predators of the Heart, which has finished Anacortes. We have to spend time with dozens of these beautiful animals.”

Doyle has been an artist in the video game industry since 2002. He spent just under twelve years at Bungie, where he worked as a lead artist in Destination, all its expansions and Destiny 2 before leaving the company in 2016.

“What’s so exciting about virtual reality is that there’s no playbook yet,” Doyle said. “Experiences are being made and they are constantly improving. This is one of the things we have tried to do with our game, it is to get to the heart of what makes for an amazing moment to moment experience and not be really drawn to the expectations of what a “plan” is. [2D, non-VR] the game provides “.

At the time of writing, Arashi it has no specific release date other than “this summer.” Is he planned to receive a physical version, however, through the London publishing house Perp.

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